Just Might Surprise You

Marissa Silver

Every few months I like to feature individual artists, souls and perspectives to bring content that is diverse and fulfilling.

I remember when I first met Marissa Pewe, and we began discussing our different experiences with these wild horses, and I realized how these horses can not only cause drama, they also work to bring people together.

In a way, they are magical in that aspect. People who wouldn't had ever met, have a connection that spans countries around the world.  I am happy to introduce to you, a board member for North Dakota Badlands Horse, Marrissa Pewe.

They Might Just Surprise You

Written by Marissa Pewe

Marissa Yoakum

A light breeze blowing in the air. The quiet sounds of insects. The occasional bird chirping. And, if you're lucky enough, the sounds of wild horses grazing together.

Those are the sounds of Theodore Roosevelt National Park on the warm day in May where I sat atop a small hill watching Teton and his family. They grazed together, slowly moving closer to me. They knew I was there many yards away, yet sitting quietly with my camera I was no bother.

Goblin walked next to Vicki, Ruby waddled, heavily pregnant, and Rico scratched an itch on a tree. All of a sudden, to my left, Ranger, a young bachelor stallion, came sneaking over the hill towards the band. My heart was in my throat and I was thinking "don't move, don't even breathe".

The first to notice him was Teepee, who snorted and alerted the rest. Quickly, they gathered together and ran to meet him. Ruby checked in, sniffing him. Nebraska watched curiously from behind her dam. The mares parted ways for Teton to come up from the rear.

Teton + Ranger Marissa Pewe 2
Teton + Ranger Marissa Pewe

The two muscular stallions touched noses, and for a moment all was quiet. Teton leaned into him, then circled around him before giving him a quick nip to the flank. Ranger snorted before running a quick 10 feet away and stopping. Seeing he wasn't moving along, Teton put his ears back, running towards him.

At that moment, Ranger must have realized he was in a bit of trouble. For a moment I wasn't sure which way they were going to go - towards me or away - when luckily, Teton pushed him away from my direction.

At this point, maybe 5 minutes have elapsed, although it feels like an hour. The mares stood still, watching, and the chase was on. From my vantage point I could see the tops of the next 4 hills. It had to be at least a mile of terrain. They ran across them all, Teton hot on Ranger's heels, giving him the occasional nip to show he means serious business.

Finally, Ranger veers off and Teton stops. He looks tiny, even through my long range lens, but he still looks glorious, his mane blowing in the breeze atop a hill. Then, just as quickly, he wheels around and heads back for his mares, who are watching this series of events with me. In what feels like seconds, Teton is back with the band, glistening in sweat, with every muscle flexed.

He quickly rounds up Goblin and the others, and the move off into the distance. In a matter of minutes, the whole series of events is complete. The band is back together like nothing happened.

I was able to snap some photos throughout the commotion, but part of the time I just had to set my camera on my knee and watch in adoration. Their communication is fascinating. Body language, especially between stallions, is something else. I had hiked out on that day just hoping to get a few images of the yearlings and their parents, and I ended up leaving in awe once again of these gorgeous wild horses.

Spending any amount of time alone in nature with these powerful animals is therapeutic. It's calming and makes you forget everything outside of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Sitting on a hill, soaking up the sun and listening to wild horses graze quietly is something everyone should take time to experience. And you never know, they may just surprise you.

Marissa Wild Horse Maggie
Victoria Dellapaolera
Victoria Dellapaolera

Victoria is a Christian minister practicing spiritual healing and development in Williston, North Dakota. Victoria has worked with horses her entire life, and has learned many of her healing techniques from the horses.

She graduated from West Virginia University in 2020 Magna Cum Laude with a bachelors degree in Human Services and Sports and Exercise Psychology; gaining her associates degree in Farm and Ranch Management and Equitation from Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana in 2012.

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